Heading into the season-defining finale at Petit Le Mans, CORE Autosport duo Jon Bennett and Colin Braun sit just four points off the championship lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototype class, and they will be gunning to maintain the momentum they’ve had in recent rounds into Road Atlanta.
Bennett and Braun will once again be supported by their designated endurance driver Romain Dumas for the race that will determine which way the championship will go in 2018, with the #54 CORE Autosport team battling with the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac duo of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr.
CORE Autosport has won twice and finished second twice in the past four races, and Bennett believes the Road Atlanta track should suiting the strengths of their Oreca 07.
“Our ORECA 07 works best in high-speed corners and circuits that reward flow,” said Bennett. “Road Atlanta has many corners that play into the ORECA’s strengths.
“Turn One, the Esses and Turn Six come to mind.”
CORE Autosport has not finished lower than fourth in any other of the endurance races in 2018, with a third place in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona being complimented by a fourth-place finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and a second-place at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Bennett says the team are prepared to execute their weekend at the highest possible level to ensure the best result possible at Road Atlanta, and whatever the result the team can be proud of their efforts this season.
“From the first sessions at Daytona, we have understood that we can control our process and execution but not the results,” said Bennett. “Nothing changes that at Petit Le Mans. Win, lose or draw; we are prepared to execute at the highest levels.
“Our team has outperformed at every level this year. We have been fast. We have been smart. We have even been a bit lucky. I hope that when the chequered flag falls, all my teammates will hold their head high for a job well done regardless of the outcome.”
Braun says it is CORE Autosport’s aim to improve every weekend they compete, but despite going into the season finale with a chance of the championship, they will not approach Petit Le Mans in any different manner to any of the previous races this season.
“Our group focuses on improvement and getting better every weekend,” said Braun. “The fact that it’s the last race of the year and we’re in the battle for the Championship is great, but we’re going to approach Petit Le Mans no different than any other race this season.
“We’ve been in this situation before; championship battles coming down to the last race, so it’s business as usual. It’s convenient that we’re not under the pressure of a corporate sponsor or manufacturer.
“We’re just a small group of guys trying to win races and I think that gives us the strength of being able to make quick decisions and focus on the task at hand. It keeps us lean and mean so to speak.”
Braun says it is essential to have a clean race to maximise their chances of clinching the title, and everyone needs to be on the ball to ensure they do not miss out on any possible bonuses when it comes to strategy.
“Being successful at Petit will be less about ultimate pace and more about having a clean race, being smart in traffic and being able to adjust your strategy as things change,” said Braun.
“It’s a long, tough race with a lot of traffic.”